“It’s not the least use to ask me, Mr. Audley, “she said. “I’m the most careless creature in the world;” (233).
In this passage, Lady Audley is talking with Robert Audley and says that she is “the most careless creature in the world”. The sense of the word creature can be seen multiple times in the book. For instance, on page 121, Lady Audley characterizes Mr. Audley as an “eccentric creature”, while on page 120, Lady Audley uses the expression “the dearest of all creatures” to describe Mr. Dawson.
The word creature seems to be mostly used by Lady Audley to describe other people and herself or used by other people to describe Lady Audley.
Moreover, it might also symbolize the unnaturalness and uniqueness of certain characters, especially George Tallboys and Lady Audley. For instance, because Lady Audley is so unique and so beautiful, she is not considered as a normal human being but as a “creature”, something different than normal. It works as a positive adjective for their appearance and actions.
However, in the last chapters of volume II, the sense of madness can be connected with the sense of the word “creature”. On page 273, Lady Audley being aggravated with Robert Audley’s accusations presents a terrifying image similar to a creature’s, which is obviously filled with madness as she threatens to kill Robert Audley. In this scene, Lady Audley presents a different aspect of the word creature, and instead of having a positive meaning, it actually has a negative one.
This passage explains that the word “creature” can work as a common theme or at least as a significant part of the plot and characterization of characters. Since lady Audley is a mystery by herself, it makes it even more mysterious when the author keeps expressing her as a “creature”. I believe that the author will be using the theme of madness more often which can be correlated with the constant characterizations of characters as “creatures”.
One thought on “Lady Audley as a “Creature””
I agree with your observations. I also think that Lady Audley might’ve been referred to as a “creature” because of the general expectations for women. Women had very distinct roles in Victorian society, as we discussed in class. They are supposed to be demure, pure, and refined. Lucy’s true self does not adhere to these gender stereotypes. She is crude and manipulative in her deeds, calculative and outspoken in her words, and absolutely anything but pure. She loses her humanity when she strays from traditional femininity. A woman who doesn’t act like a woman (in their eyes) is likened to a savage animal.
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